When moving out on your own for the first time, it’s hard not to have borderline unreasonable expectations. Your social life will be perfect because you’re finally able to make your own decisions. Dreaming of the exhausting but unforgettable weekends, I couldn’t help but feel anxious for a new close group of friends. For me, friendships are higher up than relationships on the list of importance. Having those best friends where you can be the weirdest human on the planet around them with no judgment is what keeps me sane.
I was standing in a cramped house listening to unnecessarily loud music at my first party as a Florida State student. I’m naturally an introvert so I took my place as the wallflower. I sipped my drink and observed my surroundings while chatting with my roommates. I knew that during the 2 a.m. drive home I would be craving ice cream, and I was curious if anyone here appreciated the dollar ice cream cones from McDonald’s like I did. In an attempt to look like I cared about the party more than ice cream, I began to play beer pong, something I’m convinced I’ll suck at forever. As I threw the ball everywhere but toward the cups, I wondered how people did this constantly in high school. My friends and I spent our time getting Sonic slushies and watching the worst scary movies ever filmed. Once I went back to mingling, everyone was having the same conversation.
“Where are you from?”
“What year are you?”
“What’s your major?”
The conversation is just riveting among tipsy college students.
Trying to get to know people gets tedious–I just wanted to skip the basic questions. When people ask me where I’m from, they have usually never heard of it. When I tell people I’m an English major I mostly get asked, “What are you going to do with that?” The lack of substantial conversation sent me back to my roommates.
Toward the end of the night two guys got into a fight over a game of beer pong because testosterone is a wonderful thing. I slipped away in time to watch and no one got hurt, though all I could think about was one of my best friends from home: She totally could have broken that up herself. That’s when the reality hit me: this would be so much better with my hometown friends.
When I left for Florida State, I wanted to meet new people but balance the old ones. I was about to enter a world full of over 40,000 college students, so I was bound to meet new people to watch Law and Order: SVU marathons with and shamelessly quote SpongeBob even though we’re adults. People always made it seem like new best friends would just fall into my lap from orientation or class.
I transferred to Florida State as a junior. This was pretty late in the game for meeting new people. I was a third wheel roommate, rooming with two people I knew but who were already best friends. I walked around orientation for six hours without so much as a head nod from another person. Every time I went out on the weekend people only talked to the friends that they came with, including me. All of it only made the separation anxiety from my friends that much harder. There were people all around me but none that made me laugh until my stomach hurt every time were together.
Something I’ve come to accept is that you meet a lot of temporary people in your college years. There are some people you just have no desire to see outside of a party or a study session. Making those quality friendships all over again is tough. The bond you feel from being really drunk together isn’t the same as the bond from being neighbors for years or going to the same middle school. I’ve met some great people and made some incredible memories but they will always be my college friends. It’s a different kind of friendship. Even though you don’t reminisce on high school memories, you do get to reminisce on that one time you got kicked out of the Strip together. That’s almost the same thing, right?